The parents of a baby who underwent a circumcision (Brit) ceremony carried out by Rabbi Avi Zarki on Tuesday may be feeling more than a little offended as later that day he tweeted about his surprise at the small size of their son's penis.
"Today I circumcised a baby with the smallest penis I've ever seen – a 'micro penis'," wrote the rabbi and added: "Just so you understand, it was slightly thicker than a matchstick; at first I thought it was a girl… May this small one grow to greatness."
Rabbi Zarki is a rabbi-mohel who lives in Tel Aviv. Over the last few years he has established himself as the go-to mohel in the secular community and especially among celebrities and public figures. He has both a Facebook account and a twitter account which attest to his open and unusual style.
"I'm a famous mohel thanks in part to my sense of humor, and I don't lose that," the rabbi told Ynet and added "The beauty of the thing is to take a subject that is sensitive and delicate and talk about it with a smile."
And what about the right to privacy? Rabbi Zarki doesn't see how the tweet clashes with the parents' rights. "Every day I carry out several circumcisions and each one has hundreds of guests," he noted.
"There is no identifying mark in anything I wrote – not the parents, not a location and not the name, so whoever read the tweet won't be able to discover who it was about. And because of the swift process of the circumcision, even the people present at that circumcision – including the godfather and the photographer – won't be able to know there was a problem."
Rabbi Zarki added that two mohels examined the baby before he did and refused to conduct the circumcision for fear they would damage the penis when they removed the foreskin.
According to Zarki, the baby's parents asked him to look into the matter, and since he had already carried out three similar circumcisions, he agreed, even though he hadn't previously seen a penis as small in all his 24 years as a mohel.
"My goal (in tweeting the) tweet was to bring the matter to the public's attention, that you can carry out a halachic circumcision even when there is such a problem, which is complicated from a medical perspective, that was my message."
"Sometimes you see a baby that weighs four kilograms, where three of them are the penis and sometimes it's only a few grams. Medical literature recognizes the phenomenon of 'micro penises,' just like sometimes I also see macro (penises), but everyone knows that size doesn't matter," the rabbi added jokingly.
The rabbi's "humorous" tweet came on the same day that a different Brit ceremony carried out by a different mohel, ended in tragedy. An eight day old baby was rushed to hospital after a mohel cut off a third of his penis during a circumcision ceremony.
Three urologists at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa operated on the baby and said that they successfully reattached the penis, but added that they were as yet unsure whether the penis would function properly in the future. The Health Ministry was informed of the incident.
Kobi Nahshoni and Ahiya Raved contributed to the report